Back to Fantasy

When I lived in France, I devoured Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series like there was nothing else in the world to do. All 11 of them in 6 months - the joys of a studio apartment with no television, and lots of daily train rides in and out of Paris. I put away the fantasy genre after that, with the exception of Fables and a few other graphic novels.

But a few months ago, while still on blog hiatus, Jay Franco (yes, same one that recommended Fables) recommended the George R. R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire Series. First of all, follow that link. Martin looks exactly like you would expect a fantasy writer to look. Exactly.

Now on to the books themselves. I found it refreshing to get back into the world of fantasy (and it gave me some street cred at the gaming shows I've been going to for work recently). Martin has a keen sense of detail, which is sometimes to his detriment - he can get so bogged down in details and character development that the story sometimes seems to hover frustratingly in mid-thought. That being said, the details of this world he has created, and the intense, focused characters that he develops skillfully and fully, become crucial to the story when it does finally launch itself forward, and so most readers are able to forgive what seems like confusion in the first book.

*Mild Spoiler Alert* One of my biggest complaints with Jordan is that he doesn't ever kill his characters. All, inevitably, find themselves in some kind of dangerous, sticky situation, and, not surprisingly, pull through with only mild damages to self or mind. True, after a while these damages can pile up, but as of Book 11, no one has actually died. Martin is quite the opposite, sometimes too much so. While it is refreshing to have an author that keeps his readers on his toes, he has almost killed so many characters that he has started to drive readers away - we have no allegiance to any characters remaining because it is too hard to watch (or read) them die. Alas, I am still searching for the author that can find the perfect balance between these two.

Martin's series has been optioned for a series on HBO for which I have high hopes. You can see casting and developments here.

Interesting afterthought -- on his website, George Martin cites Osprey books as one of his best sources for military research, which he uses to develop his worlds when writing. Go Osprey!

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